HOOSICK FALLS, NY (News10)-A Hoosick Falls doctor who fought against contaminated water and the companies that polluted his village’s ground water is being remembered for his dedication to his community. News10’s Anya Tucker sat down with one of Dr. Marcus Martinez’s close friends, who partnered with Martinez in the battle for safe drinking water. 

“We really got cheated and I think that our entire community got cheated. And I think that he will leave an enormous hole for the community that will never be filled,” said Michael Hickey, a longtime friend of Marcus Martinez’s as well as an ally in the fight for clean water in Hoosick Falls. He told News10’s Anya Tucker that Martinez will be remembered as a trusted physician, family man, friend, and fighter who was lost too soon. 

“He made everyone feel like she was their best friend. And that’s an incredible quality that very few people can do especially a doctor.” Michael Hickey and Martinez were lifelong friends having grown up together. Martinez left the community for college and medical school, but later returned to his hometown, setting up a medical practice to serve the members of his community- including Hickey’s dad. It was when Michael Hickey’s father and several other residents were diagnosed with cancer, that both men became suspicious of the chemical PFOA, used by nearby manufacturing plants located right next to the village’s water supply. 

“They didn’t believe me,” Hickey told Anya. “A lot of people didn’t. But he did. And once he did, it changed everything. Because he had that credibility with the rest of the community, the medical world that he had that backing there. And it was a huge risk for him to take, and he took it.” The men pushed for testing and exposed the contaminated drinking water. But it wasn’t long after the discovery that the doctor himself became a patient, diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

“I believe that he [Martinez] did think that PFOA was the cause. But you would never hear him complain about anything, and he always cared about the people here. That was always his first priority. It was never himself.” During his 9-year battle Martinez continued to fight for his community, helping to secure a new water system, regular cancer screenings for residents and eventually a $90 million dollar settlement against the polluting manufacturers.

Dr. Marcus Martinez died last Thursday at age 51. He leaves behind his wife Gretchen and 3 children as well as entire community that adored him. 

Calling hours and funeral information:

Funeral Services will be held Friday August 11th at 1:00pm at Sacred Heart Saint Francis De Sales at 238 Main Street Bennington, Vermont. Burial will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Hoosick Falls. Family and friends may call to the Mahar Funeral Home, 43 Main Street Hoosick Falls NY on Thursday August 10th between the hours of 3pm and 7pm. In lieu of flowers family requests contributions be made to any non-profit organization through the Funeral Home. Organizations closest to Marcus’ heart include the Marcus Martinez Find Your Gift Foundation Fund, The Karen and Molly McGovern Fund, The EC Fund, The Ron Jones Fund, and The Hoosick Falls Youth Center.